Xplorio Overberg


In Part 2 of Building a brand for the new decade, we will look at how the brand name you choose affects your brand.

Your brand name not only dictates the type of logo you choose, your brand colours but also how and where you will brand your business. Your brand name has to stick around for a long time, so it is important that you take great care in choosing the name of your business.

Because it is difficult to come up with a brand name that is unique, simple and still resonate with your customers, here are my

Top Tips for a Perfect Brand Name:

  1. Write down as many adjectives as possible to describe your brand. Between 30 and 50 adjectives is a good starting point. Don’t be scared to have fun. Say the words aloud, play with alliteration, and combine the adjectives in a unique way. You’ll be surprised at the number of ideas you’ll create.
  2. Should your brand name represent what your business does or do you want to use a play on words? You decide. For example, Bright’s Electricians says exactly what this business does, while Four Cubes Cement plays on the idea of the measurement, perfection and stability needed for cement.
  3. Always think of the future. If you include a place name in your brand name – like the name of your town, region or province – what is going to happen when you start opening branches in other places? If your brand name is directly linked to your own identity – Hannah’s Hair Salon for example – what will happen if you sell your business to someone whose name isn’t Hannah? Family businesses are often stuck with inflexible brand names that carry on long after the original founder had died. Also try to be fairly generic so that your brand name can include additional services or products that you’re not offering right now. For example, if your graphic design business could branch out into web design in the future, it is better to use only the word “design”.
  4. Your brand name should be easy to spell and to pronounce. Tongue-twisters will trip up your future receptionist or confuse the company that produces your radio ads. Remember that quirky spellings for regular words get old very quickly, so rather spell words conventionally.
  5. Always, always test your brand name online first – if a quick Google search delivers at least 1000 Ace Advertising Agencies, you should probably go back to the drawing board. Come up with at least three brand name options before you make your final decision. That way, you’ll be able to recover quickly should you register your business with Cipro only to find your brand name already taken.
  6. Never be deliberately offensive or rude. An entrepreneur I know wanted to name a new insect repellent Effoff, despite warnings from the marketing team. Needless to say, the product did not exactly fly off the shelves when it failed to resonate with family-minded customers. The entire product had to be re-branded, wasting money and effort. Double meanings – even unintentional ones – can also trip you up. (Our sympathies to Shane’s Hardware And Technology, for example.)
  7. Let the brand name ‘percolate’ for a few days before you make a final decision. The brand name you came up with at 2am after a good Saturday night can feel and sound horrible by Monday afternoon. Check in with business owners or trusted customers that know you and ask for honest feedback on your new brand name. Remember: you’re going to live with it for a long time, so rather take time and care in choosing it.
  8. Always trust your gut instinct. If you keep on coming back to the same brand name after days of deliberation and you’ve tested it with your friends and customers with positive feedback, you will have a brand name that is distinctive, unique and above all, memorable.

Brand name vs logo

Once you have decided on your brand name and colours, you can move on to your logo design. There are several types of logo designs to choose from. Certain styles can be better for your brand, depending on your name and the services or products you offer.

The four most common logo styles are:

  • Text-only logos or logotypes: 

use only the letters of your brand name, for example Google or Coca-Cola. This type of logo can be used by both new and established businesses that offer several different services or products. If your products and services cannot be easily represented by a single symbol, this could be the way to go. Businesses with wordy names that cannot be abbreviated (or where the abbreviation creates the wrong impression!) could look at text-only logos. With logotypes, the impact of the logo rests largely on the font used.

  • Initial logos: 

    use only the initials of the business’ full name, for example the h and p for Hewlett-Packard. This is the way to go if you want to keep the impact of a long name without having to spell it out in full.

  • Symbol or icon logos

    known as logo-marks, use an image, symbol or icon to represent your brand concept. This works well if the symbol/icon strongly represents your brand. Think of social medium Twitter, with its tweeting bird icon. The symbol/icon can be either literal (a camera for a photographer) or abstract (like the Nike swoosh).

  • Badge or emblem logos

    are used by formal organisations, for example schools, universities or government departments. This type of logo can be quite detailed – just look at the Harley Davidson logo – and projects a strong tradition and history behind the brand.

Combining all these factors – colour, logo type and brand name – all help to create a brand that stands out and should serve you into the next decade.